Troop 4: Creating a Path to Success

For 16 incredible years, this ScoutReach program has transformed the lives of over 360 youth. Led by Scoutmaster Nancy Welton, Troop 4 imparts Scouting values, life skills, teamwork, and leadership development.

Troop 4 is an outreach program that serves the Adobe Mountain School, a secure facility under the guidance of the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections (ADJC). For the past 16 years, Troop 4 has introduced the values of Scouting to approximately 360 Scouts!

Under the leadership of Scoutmaster Nancy Welton, Troop 4 is instilling the aims and methods of Scouting. From Scout skills, team building, mentoring, and leadership development, the troop is helping its members realize their potential and find a better path in life. Nancy is a founding member of Troop 4 and emphasizes that the Scouts of Troop 4 are ordinary teenagers who have found themselves entangled in a web of poor decisions. Troop 4 allows these young individuals to learn essential life skills, work as a team, solve problems, resist negative peer influences, and ultimately return to society as improved versions of themselves. 

Allyn Calhoun, an integral member of Troop 4, highlights the unique environment the program provides for these youth. At Adobe Mountain School, they are known by their last names, but within Troop 4, they are addressed by their first names. This small but significant change underscores the emphasis on the individual and creates an environment where they are recognized as persons, not just numbers. As the Scouts attend more meetings and engage in Scouting activities, the values of the organization become more natural to them. Over time, their transformation becomes evident as they embrace personal growth, becoming more open, positive, and receptive to new possibilities. 

Avery Thresher, another dedicated member of Troop 4, emphasizes the program’s focus on teaching the youth about the outdoors, life skills, survival, and the power of choice.  

The motivation behind the involvement of Troop 4 committee members like Nancy, Allyn, and Avery is as inspiring as the program itself. Nancy recounts how she initially became involved after hearing a District Scout Executive appeal for help in starting a Troop at Adobe Mountain School. When no one else stepped forward, her conviction, driven by her faith, led her to embrace the opportunity. Little did she know that she would become the founding Scoutmaster of Troop 4. 

During a Wood Badge training session, Allyn was moved by Nancy’s words and decided to make a “one-time” visit to Troop 4. Witnessing the adjudicated youth being given an opportunity to be kids, to enjoy the same experiences as their peers on the outside compelled him to continue his involvement. 

Over the years, Troop 4 committee members have witnessed firsthand the growth and development of the Scouts in Troop 4. Nancy highlights that being selected as a potential Scout at Adobe Mountain School indicates that the youth are meeting established metrics in terms of behavior, attitude, and treatment plans. The transformation these Scouts undergo is unique as they gradually shed their skepticism and embrace Scouting. Allyn observes how the youth learn to work together, develop leadership skills, and experience the power of being part of a team, even when faced with the constraints of their environment. 

Within the program, numerous memorable experiences and achievements stand out. Nancy recounts the moments during spring and summer camporees when Scouts gather around campfires and retire US flags. In those moments, she has seen the youth look her in the eye, brimming with emotion, and express their gratitude for being a part of Scouting. These experiences, filled with fellowship and a sense of belonging, demonstrate the impact Troop 4 has on these young lives. 

Allyn shares two unforgettable stories from Troop 4. One involves a young man giving his farewell speech, where he spoke about his personal growth and the valuable lessons he had learned. He expressed his desire for his future child to experience Scouting, recognizing its positive impact on his life. Another memorable moment occurred during a camporee when a patrol leader gathered his patrol to discuss their behavior and the opportunity they had to be kids once again. Witnessing these transformations and the appreciation for the program reaffirms the significance of Troop 4. 

Avery acknowledges that although the Scouts in Troop 4 typically stay for only a few months, they make progress, particularly in achieving the Tenderfoot rank. Occasionally, a youth with prior Scouting experience enters the program, and with the dedicated support of leaders and the council, they can complete their Eagle requirements, showcasing the commitment and dedication of all involved. 

Troop 4 at the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, its youth, staff, and volunteers deserve recognition and appreciation for their incredible work. ADJC has been an invaluable partner in supporting Troop 4 and allowing the Scouting program to become an integral part of the agency’s legacy. The leaders and volunteers of Troop 4 demonstrate exceptional care, compassion, and a non-judgmental approach, bringing the methods of Scouting to a population often overlooked.  

Troop 4 is a shining example of how Scouting can create a path to success and remind us of the potential for growth. Scout Salute!